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Wilfrid Laurier University emerged an early winner in the competition for $600-million in new capital funds for universities and colleges, which Ontario has started to give out as part of a more hands-on approach to mapping how and where schools expand.

The Waterloo university landed $72.6-million of $183-million promised to four schools Monday, with several more announcements expected in the coming days, including at Toronto’s Ryerson University and Sheridan College on Tuesday. The province’s primary concern is to ease space crunches at schools in high-demand urban areas, which are bursting at the seams.

But Laurier’s money is also intended to bring related...

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